On 13 July the Ministry of Justice announced that from the summer of 2013 fees will be charged for starting cases in the Employment Tribunal. Up until now access to the Employment Tribunal has been free for all workers seeking to establish breaches of employment rights by their employer.
Under the proposal that has been announced the level of fees will depend on the type of case that is taken to the tribunal - cases are split into 'level 1' and 'level 2'.
Level 1 cases will require an issue fee of £160 and a further fee of £230 if the case goes to a hearing. This will cover cases including breach of contract, failure to pay a redundancy payment, holiday pay and claims for deductions from wages.
Level 2 cases require an issue fee of £250 and a hearing fee of £950. This will cover cases of unfair dismissal, discrimination and failure to ensure rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations.
A system of reducing fees for claimants on lower incomes will apply and fees will be refundable by the employer if the claim is successful.
The introduction of fees will have a radical effect on the ability and willingness of employees to access the tribunal system. In particular it may tempt employers to wait and see if an employee is willing and able to pay the fee before they engage in any discussion about breaches of rights - a real case of no fee, no win.
For full details of the proposal go to: